It’s a sad truth in life that the vast majority of people give up on their dreams. Sometimes it happens early. A kid is told by his or her parents that whatever they’re aiming for is impossible to reach. Sometimes it happens later. You get older, tired, and instead of trying once more, you decide to throw in the towel for good. It’s sad when a dream dies. And more often than not, it dies far too soon.

Twenty-seven publishers passed on Dr. Seuss’s first book. He then went on to publish more than sixty successful titles, selling more than 600 million books. 

Babe Ruth had 1,330 strikeouts and held the home run record. He is considered one of the greatest baseball players of all time.

Vincent Van Gogh sold only one painting, to a friend, but kept on painting anyway. By the time he died, he had created more than eight hundred works, which now command millions of dollars apiece.

Fear of failure is typically the most common reason for people giving up on their goals. Fear of failure, in itself, can be debilitating. But that fear is almost always rooted in fear of rejection or judgment from those around them. I know it’s hard to overcome this fear, but if you are serious about the goal, you’ll have to overcome your fear of potential failure. Just trying something once isn’t a good judge of your potential. Twice isn’t either. It’s a journey. You can never “try” too many times.

The director, playwright, and actor Tyler Perry is a very successful man today—but 23 years ago he was living in his car. Tyler, 49, grew up in New Orleans, in a physically abusive home. Outside the home, he was also sexually abused. The trauma left him confused and angry—one especially “nasty” outburst got him kicked out of high school—but he found an outlet in writing about his life. In 1992 Tyler moved to Atlanta with the dream of staging his first play. When that effort failed (and failed again six times over), he was left homeless, disheartened, and broke—but not broken. He kept on pursuing his dream, and in 1998 it finally took flight, when hundreds of mostly African-American fans lined up to buy tickets for the seventh staging of the show he’d devoted his life to, “I Know I’ve Been Changed.” Since that time, his net worth has climbed into the hundreds of millions of dollars.

People who give up on their dreams tend to experience failure once, and then attach themselves to the belief that “I am a failure.” They repeat that belief over and over again. But what does that word really mean? Failure? Those who succeed are the ones who see those “failures” as life lessons. They learn what not to do, or they try again, making slight changes. 

People rarely learn how to discipline themselves. Discipline is the single most valuable skill for turning your dream into a reality. Unfortunately, most people don’t practice this skill. They don’t like waiting for things, don’t like practicing patience, don’t see the value in withholding short-term rewards for longer-term gains. But without discipline, you will never succeed.

Walt Disney was fired from a newspaper because he “had no good ideas” before he went on to create one of the most creative companies that ever existed.

Elvis Presley was told after an audition at the Grand Ole Opry that he should go back to his job as a truck driver. He ignored that advice and went on to become a music icon.

What are your dreams? Do you have something you started and didn’t finish? Do you have a language you’d like to learn, a hobby you wanted to start, a new path you wanted to follow?

I hope this little article has caused you to think, and hopefully inspired you to begin something new. Don’t Give Up On Your Dreams. You can do it!